7.62x39 ID's needed


I just got a box of 7.62 x 39 and have some questions on some of them.

  1. Syrian Ball, HS in Arabic “39x7.62 65”. This has a black casemouth. Any signifience? I have the same headstamp without the black casemouth.

  2. Poland Factory 21. Which factory is this?

  3. Ball, HS “141 72” CWS case. What Factory?

  4. Ball, HS “81 64” Appears to be Brass Washed Steel Case, but could be a worn Copper Washed case. Did Factory 81 make Brass Washed cases in 1964?

  5. HS “V P T 6 8”. Brass case with GM Ball. The head has 4 spots of red lacquer that form an “X” Someone wrote “PROOF” on the case. Is this a Proof load or something else?

  1. Could this be a dark purple color? It is not uncommon to find this color on regular Syrian ball 7.62x39mm. A typical cartridge will have a violet anullus and a purple case mouth seal. If it is pure black, then I have no idea.

  2. I don’t have the actual, proper factory name handy, but most Polish 7.62x39mm was made at this factory. “343” being the other producer of this caliber. On Polish 7.62x39mm, the year is inverted in relation to the factory code so as not to be confused with Hungarian cartridges using the same factory code. But, you probably know this!

  3. As of yet unidentified Chinese factory. The whole headstamp code issue remains a mystery and these Vietnam war era codes may have been intended to disguise the actual plant manufacturing the cartridges.

  4. The examples I have or have seen from this factory have a “brassy” copper wash. Seems to be typical for this factory. Side-by-side with an actual copper washed and brass washed cartridge, the "81"s are sort of inbetween in color. My copy of the Russ Cornell checklist shows ony CWS for this headstamp.

  5. This is a “proof” or “high pressure test” cartridge. I was told that the ones with the “X” are for commercial or civilian use and the ones with the solid red base are for military use. I cannot claim this to be 100% true and would like to know if this is in fact the case.



the only question that I can provide a complete answer for here is the one about the VPT round with the four red “dots” that form an “X” on the headstamp. That is a proof load, and that marking has been used on other calibers. I have a loaded round and a fired case from Mauser, Oberndorf. I visited the factory in 1972 and at that time, they were producing their post-war series of Luger-type pistols, primarily when I visited in caliber 7.65mm Parabellum. They were using Finnish proof loads with the marking described in their proof room. I picked up one of the fired cases, and asked if I could keep it as a souvenir. I hinted for a loaded round.

Arsenal Number 141 is used by China. I suspect it is the same factory as “11” but I don’t know that, and I don’t know nayone who knows which factories these actually are. If anyone knows the actual factory name or location for Arsenal 17 or 81, I would love to know it!

I don’t know enough to answer your question about whether Arsenal 81 made brass-washed steel cases in 1964, but I have in my dupes a round from arsenal 31 dated 66 that has a brass-washed case, so certainly BWS cases were not unknown to the Chinese in the 1960s.

For Arsenal 21 in Poland, the last full name I have for this factory is Zaklady Metalowe, Marka Export Solidnosc Knokurencyjnosc Otwartosc, Skarzysko-Kamienna. These factory names in former communist-controlled countries are changing right and left, so that may not be current.

Most of the Syrian 7.62 x 39 that has gone through my hands (we had, years ago, two hundred boxes of it in a mixed shipment of this claiber from Isreal that contained 7.62 x 39 ammo from all over the communist world),
had a very narrow case mouth seal that on first glance appears black, but under a magnifying glass in good light is dark purple. I would say that is the norm, and it certainly is ordninary ball ammunition. I still have a couple of rounds of it in my dupes afte 20 or so years. The primer seal is the same color, but since there is more of it than the thin line at the neck, it is more obviously purpole. I have never had a Syrian round with no case mouth seal, but then, I have only had a couple of dates so that mean nothing, I realize. If yours is, upon close examination, truly black, I have no idea what it signifies.


Quite nice information about Mesko Factory is here:


John & AKMS–Thanks for the answers to my questions.
Here is some follow-up on each of them.

  1. On closer examimation under strong light, the casemouth and PA are both very dark purple, not black.
    The original reason for the question is I have the same headstamp, but for the years 70, 72 & 74, that have NO casemouth or PA color.

  2. Thanks for the Factory 21 name and location.

  3. Perhaps someday we can put together a list Chinese factories like we now have for the Russian ones.

  4. I have concluded this is actually copper washed steel and not brass washed. As AKMS said, it is about midway between the two, but when comparing it side-by-side with a copper washed and a brass washed (Headstamps “60 > <50> and 270 >< 50”) it is clearly more copper than brass.

  5. Thanks for confirming this is a Proof round.